The story of Lt. Col. Stu Scheller, the Marine officer who posted a viral video demanding accountability from military leaders for the failures in Afghanistan, took a strange turn this week after he posted a new video Sunday in which he resigns his commission "effective immediately" and threatens to "bring the whole f---ing system down."
Scheller begins the video by thanking people for an outpouring of support but acknowledges that he has been relieved of command. He is quick to add, "I am not pending legal action."
"I'm resigning my commission as a United States Marine effective now," Scheller declared. "I am forfeiting my retirement, all entitlements -- I don't want a single dollar."
Resigning a commission is not as simple as making a declaration. Resignations require processing and approval -- something Scheller acknowledges in his video -- making this statement ceremonial rather than official.
Scheller was removed from command of the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on Friday following his first video "due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command," according to Maj. Jim Stenger, a spokesman for the Marine Corps.
Monday afternoon, in a post to what appeared to be his LinkedIn profile, Scheller said that he "was ordered by my commanding officer to go to the Hospital for a mental health screening."
"I was evaluated by the mental health specialists and then sent on my way," he added in the post.
Scheller reiterated that he is "moving forward with my resignation."
Military.com reached out to Scheller and others who appeared to have served with him in the Marines for comment and perspective, and confirmation on the events he described. Scheller did not reply. Several current and former Marines declined to comment. One said, "I don't think it's safe for me to comment at this time."
Sunday's 10-minute video, posted to LinkedIn and YouTube, has a decidedly different tone from his first message, which was widely shared on social media in the military community.
Instead of sitting in an office setting in uniform, Scheller is dressed in civilian clothes and seated in "an abandoned school bus in eastern North Carolina" with a chessboard set up in the foreground. The video also has a darker tone, with Scheller less focused on calls for accountability and instead making declarations, often shouting, about his career and Marine leadership.
Scheller claims that, in exchange for his silence, he could have spent three years at another posting until he was eligible for retirement.
"I don't think that's the path I'm on," he declared.
At several points in the video, Scheller also intimates that he has plans for senior officers in the military, using threatening language.
"When I am done with what I'm about to do, you all are going to need the jobs and the security," Scheller said in his second video.
At the end of the clip, he declares, "We're just getting started."
When asked about the new video, Marine Corps officials said they were aware of it. Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for the branch, said in an email that it "is taking appropriate action to ensure the safety and well-being of LtCol Scheller and his family."
The second video has been watched more than half a million times over both YouTube and LinkedIn.
Speaking directly to his wife in the second clip, Scheller said: "I don't know what decisions you're going to make in the next 72 hours," without elaborating further. He then gave out his wife's Venmo and PayPal information.
Military.com reached out to her for comment or clarification but did not hear back before publication.
His wife has received more than 75 donations on Venmo since the video was made. Several of the comments reference elements of the QAnon conspiracy or the belief that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. None of Scheller's comments, however, allude or specifically reference either belief.
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.